Though Billy Lyell's career was often overshadowed by another Youngstown legend in Kelly Pavlik, one can't deny that Lyell is one of the top boxers to come out of the Youngstown area this millennium.
Lyell, who turned pro in 2003, fought for a world title in 2010 when he fought Sebastian Sylvester in Germany for the IBF world middleweight championship while also facing off against undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC silver middleweight title in 2011, a match which saw Lyell take Chavez Jr. the distance in defeat.
Though Lyell claimed the NABC intercontinental middleweight title in October of 2009 when he defeated Chris Gray, his biggest victory came earlier that year when he defeated the previously undefeated top middleweight prospect John Duddy in New Jersey by split decision.
Not known for his power with only five of his victories coming by way of knockout but rather his pure boxing ability combined with his heart and determination which gave Lyell a fighters chance everytime he entered the ring.
Now Lyell is passing his extensive knowledge of the sport and putting that heart he once carried into the ring and putting into tomorrows champions as he, along with his wife has opened Eastside Boxing Club in Naples, Florida.
Eastside Boxing Club is not your everyday boxing gym, however.
The Lyell's opened the club as a 501 (c) (3) which will allow amateur boxers to train and compete without a financial hardship to their family, something that was important to the couple when they opened talked about opening the gym.
Eastside Boxing Club will also provide scholarships for individuals with Parkinson's Disease to participate in Rock Steady Boxing and will also be teaming up with a women's shelter to host monthly self-defense clinics for free.
Donations are being accepted to help Eastside Boxing with their mission of being able to give back and provide for all people regardless of income.
Those interested in donating to one of my favorite fighters to not only come out of Youngstown but of all-time can do so by visiting the gym's GoFundMe page.